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Redrawing constituency boundary lines at election time is an art reserved for prime ministers. Though the parliamentary boundaries commission is charged with setting the boundaries for general elections, everyone knows the prime minister is in charge of this process.
The man with the pen usually tries to set an environment most favorable for his party. This great power, however, doesn't always help the PM and his party. The last two prime ministers and parties in power (2002 and 2007) lost when they had the power to set the boundaries.
Currently, there are 41 seats in the House of Assembly. There were about 4,000 constituents in each of the New Providence constituencies in 2007. Successive regimes have attempted, in recent years, to keep the numbers fairly even in constituencies in the country's main island.
This is an admirable aspiration. However, The Bahamas still has too many seats in its elected chamber.
In the United States there are 435 voting members of the House of Representatives in a country with a population of 308,745,538. The ratio of citizens to elected members is 709,760 to one.
In Canada there are 308 constituencies represented in the House of Commons. Canada has a population of 34,278,406. The ratio of citizens there to elected members is 111,294 to one.
Here in The Bahamas, a poor country as compared to the U.S. and Canada, there are 41 members of the House of Assembly. We have a population of 353,658. Our ratio of citizens to elected members is 8,626 to one.
Those countries are richer and have more evolved democracies than The Bahamas. And they do well enough, as compared to The Bahamas, with fewer elected members relative to their population sizes.
If we significantly reduced the number of MP's in The Bahamas, we could afford to pay the remaining MP's more using the same pool of funds currently being used to pay MP salaries.
This would enable our elected parliamentarians to be full-time legislators. Currently, MPs only make $28,000 per year. This salary is too low for such an important job.
Our elected members are paid to make our laws and to represent the interests of constituents in Parliament.
If we paid them more - $100,000 per year, for example - we could attract more dynamic people to politics. We could also demand that all MPs be full-time legislators.
Under our present system only the well-off and those seeking favors once in office could afford to enter front-line politics.
Part-time legislators only do a part of the job a legislator should do. Elected members should spend their time in Parliament debating and scrutinizing new laws; they should be writing laws to be suggested to Parliament; and they should be participating in active committees, which scrutinize the work of the government and other aspects of civil society. Committee work is especially important, and very little of it happens in The Bahamas.
Societies get the quality of governance they pay for. We pay little for legislators in The Bahamas. If we paid more and demanded more, we might get more useful laws and better oversight from our Parliament.
Leaders of the Bahamas Customs, Immigration and Allied Workers Union (BCIAWU) said yesterday its 1,140 members would continue to work-to-rule until the government meets with the union to negotiate and agree to an alternative shift system that "would be proper for customs and immigration officers".
However, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Immigration Brent Symonette reiterated yesterday that since 1996 immigration officers were hired specifically to do shift work and more recent employees have "definitely been hired under that term".
"I would suggest if they want to negotiate with the government, possibly they may consider coming back to work (on their rostered shifts) rather than disrupting the work at the airport and making demands of the government," Symonette told The Nassau Guardian.
He said immigration officers, including those scheduled to work in the evening, turned up for work at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) at 9 a.m. on Monday and again yesterday, disregarding the shift system in effect.
Officers rostered to work in the evening who turned up for work yesterday morning were sent home, said Symonette.
After the Free National Movement's (FNM) rally in Buckley's, Long Island on Monday night Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said the union's actions appeared to be politically motivated and once again called upon workers to return to the implemented shift system.
"It is unthinkable that in these times that people do such nonsense," Ingraham said. "There will be a number of industrial actions that are politically motivated. It is orchestrated and planned."
Ingraham was referring to some of the middle managers at Bahamasair and some workers at the National Insurance Board who called in sick on Monday.
But Obie Ferguson, president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), told The Guardian the whole issue has been "a misunderstanding" and he was shocked at just how political it has become.
Ferguson also said the agreement executed between the government and Bahamas Public Service Union President John Pinder (who previously represented the officers) was being honored, but claimed it was not registered and cannot be considered the formal contract that governs the relationship between customs and immigration officers.
He claimed that general orders is the overriding contract under which all customs and immigration officers are employed.
"Our fight for these workers has nothing to do with their political preference or their association -- that is their business," said Ferguson.
"These officers are functioning in their capacity... and we call on the prime minister who is the major employer... to cause a meeting between the parties with a view of resolving whatever the differences are."
BCIAWU Vice President Sloane Smith claimed workers, at no point, went on strike or took any other sort of industrial action.
He insisted that they are working their regular eight hours in accordance with the legitimate general orders.
However, he acknowledged that their stance on the shift system has negatively impacted operations at LPIA, but said the problem could be easily rectified.
"The workers are not concerned with politics at this point," Smith said.
"They are concerned about how they are going to be impacted when they go to work; whether or not they are going to get days off; whether or not they can take care of their families; whether or not they can have them in the private schools to have the best education [and] whether or not they can keep their lights on.
"It has nothing to do with politics. That is not our concern and we categorically reject that whole notion because our issues have been around long before the political season."
Labour Minister Dion Foulkes told The Guardian he was baffled because he thought the union's recent meeting with the prime minister went well.
He said he would be happy to attempt to set up another meeting.
Attacking the integrity of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is at the heart of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's 2012 election campaign. He has said the money the PLP is using to fund its campaign comes from unsavory sources.
"You can't fight crime and a culture of criminality if you turn a blind eye to a culture of corruption in your party. You can't fight crime if you taking money from sources who made that money illegally," said Ingraham at the Free National Movement's Fort Charlotte constituency office opening last week.
That statement was one of many similarly directed charges Ingraham has made against the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). He has repeatedly said that the PLP has unclean hands and should not be trusted.
The PLP is not happy with these comments and it has denied that the party is using 'dirty money' to fund its campaign.
There are no campaign finance laws in The Bahamas. Bahamians do not know who funds political campaigns. PLP and FNM governments have decided not to enact laws to regulate the financing of our political system.
Therefore, neither of the political parties should complain when accusations are hurled about the sources of funding to political parties. The parties during one of their terms in office - the PLP for 30 years and the FNM for 15 years - brought forward campaign financing laws to bring transparency to the process. None did.
Any party wanting to counter accusations against illicit money funding its campaign could now disclose in the absence of a law to do so. All that would be required is for the party to inform its donors - and to come to an understanding with them - and it could make the names of all who give money to the organization public.
This will not happen, of course. But as long as we keep a hidden party financing system, anyone could make any wild accusation against a candidate or a party and voters would have no means of determining if the allegations are true or not.
The visit of Prince Harry
Those who have gone to see Prince Harry during his visit here to The Bahamas seemed excited to glimpse the second son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. Prince Harry is visiting the Caribbean in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the reign of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.
The British monarchy is our monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of The Bahamas. We wonder, though, how relevant to Bahamians the connection still is to the monarchy.
The issue of breaking away formally from the Queen being our head of state is something rarely debated in public discourse in The Bahamas these days. In Jamaica, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has said it is time for her country to abandon the British monarch as Jamaica's official head of state and instead move to a republican form of government. Jamaica declared its independence from Britain in 1962.
While the issue of transitioning away from the British monarch is not a hot topic here, a more relevant issue for Bahamians is the role of the Privy Council as our final court of appeal. Some think, especially regarding criminal matters, that the Privy Council is out of touch with the conditions of the modern Bahamas.
At some point, The Bahamas will need to stand on its own as a fully independent country. That means that while we should keep connections with our brothers and sisters in the Commonwealth, the Bahamian state would need to be fully Bahamianized.
When should this time come? Well, it is up to the people.
Friday 20th August 2010 8:00 PM
The first 25 ladies get a free Smirnoff Martini DJ President No Admission Fee. 21+ Start Time: August 20th at 8:00pm End Time: August 21st at 12:00am Where: Sabor Restaurant & Bar, Pelican Bay Hotel, Grand Bahama For more information, contact 242-373-5588 www.sabor-bahamas.com For more parties, concerts and club events click here
The economic success of all countries is determined by the availability and judicious use of the four essential national assets: Food, energy resources, land and human capital. The Bahamas has an abundance of all of these assets, but we have not availed ourselves or made the best use of them. Here I wish to focus on our land assets: Crown land, generation property and land registration.
1. The term "Crown land" needs to be changed to "state land", as this land belongs to the Bahamian people and not the Crown in England.
2. All state land should be recognized as residential, commercial, industrial, touristic, farmland, wetlands and forestry.
3. All state land should then be placed in a national land bureau that would be mandated by government, but managed by the private sector in a fair and transparent way.
4. The Bahamas Mortgage Corporation (BMC) and the Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) would then be recapitalized with funds from the government, the National Insurance Board, pension funds and the private sector. It would also be necessary to repopulate the management and board of directors of each of these financial institutions with a team of qualified and accountable persons. These two entities would then become the primary lending facilities for persons desirous of purchasing a piece of state land.
The BMC would be responsible for funding residential purchases at a rate of three to five percent interest and the BDB for all other non-residential purchases (commercial, industrial and touristic), but at a higher rate of interest (five to seven percent) because of the greater risk involved. No land zoned forestry or wetlands would be sold and any farmland would only be leased. Foreign entities would be prohibited from buying any land earmarked for tourism but, where appropriate, would be able to lease the land on a long term basis.
I am of the opinion that if this approach was to be adopted, then the best use could be made of what Crown/state land is still available and the procurement process would be fair and transparent.
At present, all of the Crown/state land is controlled by the Office of the Prime Minister. This office single handedly determines the distribution of all Crown/state land. There is never any public disclosure of these transactions, the criteria used in the allocation process, the current status of how much land is available, who the current lease holders are, whether or not the land is being used for its intended purpose and if the current lease holders are up to date on their payments.
Such an opaque system lends itself to abuse, corruption and nepotism.
This new approach would provide the opportunity for many Bahamians to purchase land relatively inexpensively. They would then have a chance to own a piece of the rock and build a home. This creates economic activity in the form of mortgage payments, construction, jobs, sale of household goods, real property taxes and utility bill payments.
Another positive economic impact of this approach would be increased competition in the banking system for mortgages, which would result in lower mortgage payments and thus more disposable income for other mortgagees, which would result in more economic activity in the country.
There are acres and acres of generation property all over The Bahamas, especially in The Family Islands. There is no reason why this land cannot be regularized and the rightful owners be granted clear title to their properties. There are commonage laws that could be used to rectify this situation and if additional laws are needed then they could be enacted. Granted, this would be an arduous task. And yes there would be many disputes. But it needs to be sorted out. Once this problem is resolved there would be hundreds of new Family Island millionaires, who would then have access to land, which they would be able to sell, build on or use as collateral for whatever purpose.
The transaction costs (stamp duty, realty fees and legal fees) associated with the sale/purchase of land are too high and are a deterrent to any potential land sales.
The present arrangement adds to the overall structural inflation that all Bahamians must endure. The legal profession justifies its fee structure based on the time and effort it takes to do the relevant title search and the potential for litigation if there are any problems. The simple solution to this is to adopt a system of land registration which would reduce the time required for the search, the chance of litigation and the cost of legal fees. Stamp duty, legal fees and realty fees would be based on a flat rate that would range between $250 to $1,000 per transaction, depending on the value. This scenario would result in a win-win situation for all parties, as there would be an increase in the number of real estate transactions. Any income lost on the swing would be gained on the roundabout.
Such land reform would benefit all Bahamians, the government and the Bahamian economy. After all, economics is about making the best use of available resources and land is certainly one of these resources.
Elections are more often bought than won.
- U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton
As the general election in The Bahamas approaches, there has been considerable discussion about the sources of political campaign finance. One of the local tabloids has suggested that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is being funded by "unsavory characters". At one of the Free National Movement (FNM) rallies, the prime minister is quoted as saying: "The PLP has plenty money! And there is a reason they have plenty money. The money they've got, we don't want! We'd rather be out than in if we have to use that kind of money! Our hands are clean!"
Therefore this week, we would like to Consider This... should we be concerned where political parties receive their campaign contributions?
Campaign finance refers to funds that are raised and spent to promote candidates and political parties in election contests. In modern democracies, such funds are not necessarily devoted exclusively to election campaigns. Political contributions are also used to finance issue campaigns in referenda, party activities and party organizations.
For the most part, however, in The Bahamas, political campaign finance is used to establish campaign headquarters at the constituency and national levels, to purchase party paraphernalia, including signage, pins, and flyers, to pay political consultants for polling and focus group activities, party manifestos, newspaper, radio and television commercials, constituency activities, travel to the Family Islands and for political rallies and concerts.
And, yes, political campaign finance is also used to purchase votes. Although this is illegal, vote buying has been a feature of our political culture long before the establishment of the first political party in 1953.
Reasons for giving
There are many reasons why persons contribute to political campaigns. The first and most obvious reason is that donors support the political positions, programs or personalities of one party over another and want to see that candidate and party win in order to implement those policies and programs. In many cases, the donor's intentions are noble and sincere and contribute to the strengthening of the democratic process.
Another reason for making a political contribution to a particular candidate or a party is to ingratiate oneself to both, in case the candidate or his party wins the election. The donor then hopes to be able to obtain support for his personal, business or civic programs.
There is also wide public perception that some donors expect government favors in return, such as specific legislation being enacted or defeated, the awarding of significant government contracts or other benefits granted as a result of large campaign contributions; so some have come to equate campaign finance with political corruption and bribery.
So then, does it really matter who finances political campaigns in The Bahamas? The short answer is yes. If political parties expect to be taken seriously, significant contributors must be closely scrutinized in order to determine whether the acceptance of their contributions will adversely affect the voters' perceptions. Let's look at several examples.
Much has been made about lawyers who defend clients who are accused of criminal offenses. The suggestion is that if a candidate is to be taken seriously by the voter, he should not represent persons so accused. There is an even more pernicious suggestion that lawyers who do so are undesirable candidates for Parliament. We totally disagree.
We are a country that is governed by the rule of law, whose primary precept is that a person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a candidate representing such persons, even in cases where the accused are awaiting an extradition hearing. Let us remember that there was no similar public outcry when Eugene Dupuch and Sir Orville Turnquest successfully represented Robert Vesco, the internationally renowned financial fugitive, when the United States sought his extradition. In fact, Sir Orville subsequently enjoyed an illustrious and distinguished career as a Cabinet minister and deputy prime minister and then ultimately as governor general of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
Even more has been made of candidates accepting donations from such individuals. Keeping in mind the innocent until proven guilty concept, we see nothing untoward about taking donations from such accused individuals, nor do we see anything inappropriate about accepting donations from individuals who have been acquitted of the charges against them. They were presumed innocent and proven to be innocent, therefore donations from such persons are just like those from people who have never had a brush with the law. Of course, if the contributor was actually convicted of an offense, then it would be imprudent for such contributions to be accepted. Far too often in this society we do not appreciate the difference.
A second example involves a completely legitimate, clinically-clean contributor who makes a substantial contribution with the clear understanding that, if elected, the winner would ensure that certain actions are taken or favors granted for the contributor's benefit. Notwithstanding that contributor being above reproach, such an arrangement is equivalent to bribery and corruption.
Accordingly, the real test of the appropriateness of the contribution must be the legal standing as well as the intention of the contributor and an understanding of the motivation of such contributions.
Campaign finance laws
Most countries that rely on private donations to fund campaigns require extensive disclosure, including the name, employer and address of donors. This is intended to police undue donor influence, while preserving most of the benefits of private financing, including the right to make donations and to spend money to enhance political free speech, saving government the expense of funding campaigns and keeping government from funding partisan free speech, which some citizens would find odious.
Supporters of private financing systems believe that private financing fosters civic involvement, ensures that a diversity of views are heard, and prevents government from tilting the scales to favor those in power or with political influence. They also encourage enhanced transparency in the funding of candidates and the political parties.
There is no campaign finance legislation in The Bahamas and we submit that the time has come to consider changing this. We believe that the correct balance of political finance impacts a country's ability to effectively maintain free and fair elections, effective governance, democratic government and the regulation of corruption.
Political campaign finance can affect various societal institutions. We fully recognize that money is necessary for democratic politics, and that candidates and political parties must have access to funds to play their part in the political process. Money is never an unproblematic part of the political system, and, therefore, regulation of this process is highly desirable.
We also believe that our political culture must be taken into account when devising strategies for controlling money in politics in Bahamian elections. Ultimately, the effective regulation and disclosure of political campaign finance can help to control the adverse effects of the role of money in politics, but only if well-conceived and implemented. Without those proper regulations, our democratic process is in danger, and the pirates might just have to be expelled once more.
oPhilip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to email@example.com.
In the Westminster parliamentary system the presiding officers are expected to be independent, impartial and fair. The system becomes dysfunctional if these characteristics are not observed and upheld. Dysfunction and the law of the jungle seem to be the order of the day in the Senate and the House of Assembly these days. The bias against the opposition by the presiding officers is the worst it has been since the introduction of political parties in the Parliament in the 1950s.
The approach of the general election appears to have brought out the worst of these men and woman who preside over the proceedings of our national Parliament. I was astounded that the Senate president allowed Dion Foulkes to read the WikiLeaks notes on Fred Mitchell and the consular section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This type of conjecture should never be permitted in the proceedings of the Senate.
What is also curious is the fact that the Free National Movement (FNM) then attempted feebly to blame Senator Allyson Maynard-Gibson for having the document made public. Most Bahamians know by now that once Dion Foulkes was allowed to read the document it was put in the public domain. Now that the contents of the document have been made public what is the government going to do with a public officer who sought out an officer of a foreign mission and gave supposed confidential national information to that officer?
In the House of Assembly the situation is even worse. The two presiding officers in that chamber have deserted any semblance of impartiality. They have reached the stage where they do not even listen to the opposition. This is certainly a sad state of affairs and one which does not enhance our democratic traditions. I hope that the prime minister would soon ensure that the parliamentary term is ended so we could witness the last of this political madness.
The current presiding officers obviously have little regard for tradition, for democracy and fairness. They feel that their duty is to protect the interest of their political party above the interest of the institution of Parliament. This demonstrates clearly the level of character of the Bahamian politician. I blame the leadership of the party for the devaluation of the Westminster system in The Bahamas. When you see Parliament only as a means to pursue your narrow political end and not as a means of empowerment or as an institution for change, you realize why our social fabric is so fragile and undisciplined.
For my part, I will continue to watch the proceedings of both chambers (whatever is left of them) on the parliamentary channel and point out to my children and my neighbor's children that what they are witnessing is not what Parliament ought to be.
- B. Burrows
I have never sought out a reason to write a letter as such, as I have seldom come into direct contact with anyone holding power over the general public. However, an event that transpired recently has given me a great sense of sorrow, though what I feel is more so pity for The Bahamas and its leaders. I will offer a short account of the situation that occurred and will subsequently offer my commentary on the matter.
As a family member and I rode to our job places early on the morning of the day in question we were almost parties to an accident. I will not give the details of the almost accident as it is irrelevant, but I will say this much: the other party was a police officer, who then had us pulled over.
The driver of our vehicle was humble and calm, which is far from what I can describe of myself, and after he and the officer conversed he was asked to give in his driver's license for "routine inspection". The police officers at this frequented station discovered that a warrant was out for my family member's arrest in regard to a fixed traffic infraction that was "not paid", according to their 'high tech' system. Now the problem arises. A particular lady officer persists to ask him questions, this is her duty, but the way she asked him these questions was as if he was a known criminal. He was ever so humble and tried to ignore her rudeness and humiliating sarcasm. However, this was hard for me to do as I do not take too kindly to persons using degrading tones and abusive language with others, especially a family member.
What made it worse was that, because she has authority, I could not do anything about it. The problem continues. This lady officer, and it is on purpose that I reiterate the ignorance in the situation, then tries to tell me what is going on - as she does this my family member tries to give me instructions on what to do. As he does this she talks to him in a further degrading tone shouting, "you, you, who told you to go there and talk to her?"
I was ever so shocked and angered. To show my disapproval I asked her why she had to talk to him in such a hostile manner. She then answered, "Miss, miss, don't do it this morning, not today...how do you want me to talk to him?" She then mimicked a baby's voice.
This only further upset me, but I said nothing as I know not to answer foolishness. I personally feel that everyone should be treated with respect, especially since the constitution states that one is innocent until proven guilty. I thought her comments were uncalled for and were very unprofessional. Besides this fact, every other officer at the station acted courteously and respectfully, while she was the only irrational person present. Persons like this should not be in positions of authority!
One thing must always be remembered, you should always treat another civilian with respect because you never know when you are going to need them. In the end, it was discovered that it was an error that existed in the 'high tech' system. I am grateful to the police officer who was kind to my family member and to the others who were respectful and professional, but I sincerely hope that this particular lady officer learns her lesson one day. She certainly needs another position and needs to rethink the reason she became an officer in the first place.
Ignorance is truly a serious thing. It is even more serious when it exists in persons who have authority over us. This is just another scenario of a bad apple making it bad for the good ones. I won't voice a formal complaint, as I believe when God says "vengeance is mine". But I thought that this story needed to be shared. We have rights and one of them is not to be degraded in any way. If you find yourself in a similar situation, do not hesitate to complain against that person. It is our constitutional right.
When it is all said and done, Hubert Ingraham and the Free National Movement (FNM) will be credited with revitalizing and modernizing the roads in New Providence. Ingraham's name will be etched in Bahamian history as the prime minister who took on this vast undertaking known as the New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP) and came out as the disputable winner.
Now let's fast track to our current state of affairs.
The initial cost of the NPRIP was $119.9 million. The prime minister recently revealed that so far the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has loaned The Bahamas $129 million to complete the NPRIP. He says that the Government of The Bahamas now needs an additional $77 million to complete this project and that we have asked the IDB to cover $65 million of this additional cost.
This equates to an $87 million project overrun. Eighty-seven million dollars is a lot of money and this could have been used to assist with a number of ailments currently affecting our country. Many Bahamians have chimed in on the management of this project and although most Bahamians see the project as an essential need, the resounding cry is that the project has been poorly managed. Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Perry Christie says the project can be classified as one of "epic incompetence". Chris Mortimer, Democratic National Alliance (DNA) deputy leader, classifies the handling of the project as "textbook Free National Movement (FNM) mismanagement".
The fiscal management of this project, which has nearly doubled in cost, will always be classified as an enormous failure by Ingraham and the FNM. In fact I say that the mismanagement of this project is a sad day for Bahamians and what is even more saddening is that there hasn't been a bigger outcry.
No one has been fired or fined, which to me is normally an indication that the performance of the persons responsible is acceptable. But is the performance of the Minister of Works and Transport Neko Grant acceptable? I believe that he should have been fired. Is the performance of Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles (JCCC) acceptable? I am of the view that it should have been fined and fired for its shoddy work. Is the performance of the Government of The Bahamas acceptable? The jury on this is still out and Bahamians will speak with their voices on Election Day.
In my view, the government made several colossal mistakes regarding this project. Firstly, the prime minister did not adhere to a recommendation to take out a hedge to protect the project against the rise in fuel prices. This would have provided a buffer when oil prices increased. Secondly, according to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) majority report on the NPRIP, the government made political decisions to execute the project. A portion of the PAC report says, "A political decision was reached that the full scope of work under the contract was to be taken and any shortfall in funding would have to be made up by the Government of The Bahamas." I am not sure why any sensible government, especially the Government of The Bahamas, would propose and agree to this lopsided deal.
With 40,000 Bahamians unemployed and a foreign company heading the project, this decision certainly does not sit well with thousands of Bahamians and it is certainly not in the best interest of The Bahamas.
Furthermore, the government awarded a contract last month to two companies to the tune of $81 million. This project will complete a number of initiatives, specifically water leaks that the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) says are around five million gallons per day. According to Glen Laville, general manager of the WSC, "A side agreement was signed to ensure that none of the newly paved roads would be excavated for a minimum period of five years." He is referring to the newly paved roads of the NPRIP.
I think a sensible question to ask would be why the government didn't see fit to fix the water leaks the same time the NPRIP is being executed. This in my eyes constitutes poor planning by our government and it is indicative of wasteful spending and a lack of vision.
All governments have a responsibility to build infrastructure in their country, but they must do it in a manner that does not cause undue hardship to its citizens. All governments have a duty to be fiscally responsible. All governments have a duty to ensure that their citizens if qualified are awarded contracts to complete works as opposed to foreign companies.
I agree that the project is absolutely necessary, but I am not happy with its ineffective management. Neko Grant has publicly announced at least four different completion dates for this project. Now he is saying the completion date will probably be sometime in 2013. The NPRIP will cause Bahamians at least a fifth of $1 billion.
I implore Bahamians during this election season to not only listen to the promises being made by all the political parties, but to look at their track records. We can't afford to get caught up in petty politics, which continues to destroy Bahamian families and erode our sense of good judgment. We must realize that a decision by an elected government will affect each of us no matter our political persuasion.
I have no doubt that our $206 million and counting roadworks project, once completed, will instill a sense of pride in Bahamians for years to come. But the way in which this project has been executed will always be a sore point for the Bahamians who only want the best for their country, irrespective of party lines.
- Dehavilland Moss
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
The Finlayson family yesterday confirmed they are in talks with three separate parties over the sale of a majority controlling interest in the five-store City Markets chain, telling Tribune Business that beyond their existing $19 million injection their "appetite is just not there" for further investment.
Mark Finlayson, principal of the Finlayson family-owned Trans-Island Traders vehicle, which holds a 78 per cent stake in City Markets' operating parent, Bahamas Supermarkets, said the family's focus was on saving the supermarket chain's 450 jobs, but warned the company "may not survive in its present form".
Hinting that some po ...